Eric Adams has firmly established himself as a co-frontrunner in the New York City mayoral Democratic primary, as three polls released during the past two weeks show him leading first place votes for the first time, with Andrew Yang, who had been ahead in all surveys prior to this month, maintaining a lead in several polls as well.
A poll released Monday by PIX11 News/Emerson College shows Adams, the Brooklyn borough president, getting first-place support of 18% of respondents. Yang, an entrepreneur who has never held public office, and New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer are in a virtual tie for second place at 15%, with Yang leading Stringer by just several-tenths of a percentage point. Stringer had generally been polling in third place for months, and his 15% support indicates he has not seen a dropoff in support since allegations of harassment by a volunteer on a 2001 campaign surfaced late last month, causing him to lose many endorsements. All three of the leading candidates are within the poll’s margin of error of 3.8 percentage points.
Former Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia comes in fourth place with 8%, and four candidates have between 4% and 6%: Former nonprofit executive Dianne Morales; former HUD Secretary and City Housing Commissioner Shaun Donovan, former Citigroup executive Ray McGuire, and Maya Wiley, former counsel to outgoing Mayor Bill de Blasio. Twenty-three percent of respondents are undecided.
“With less than a month to early voting, more and more New Yorkers are adding to the great momentum of Eric Adams’ campaign for the safer, healthier, and more equitable city we all deserve,” Adams campaign spokesperson Evan Thies told Hamodia on Wednesday.
Yang has led in first-place votes in at least three polls released this month, in addition to his campaign’s internal poll.
One poll, conducted by Public Opinion Strategies on behalf of the Manhattan Institute and released Wednesday, shows Yang edging Adams 19% to 18% in first place votes, with Garcia at 11% and Wiley at 10%. Stringer fares far worse in this poll, at just 8%, with McGuire and Morales at 6%, Donovan at 4%, and 14% of voters undecided. The poll has a margin of error of 4.38%.
Polls earlier this year had shown Yang leading by double digits, but his campaign says it never believed the margin would be that wide.
“We have expected all along that this would be a very competitive election, and the polls are reflecting that,” Yang pollster Evan Roth Smith told Hamodia on Wednesday. “We believe the numbers are reflecting the strength of Andrew’s coalition, and we look forward to the next five weeks of campaigning.”
Another candidate who appears to be surging is Garcia, who was mired in the low single digits in many polls but has been boosted by recent endorsements of The New York Times and the Daily News.
Campaign manager Monika Hansen said in a statement that Garcia’s poll numbers “confirm what we already know to be true: New Yorkers are ready for strong, steady, and experienced leadership at this time of crisis, and Kathryn Garcia is increasingly pulling in support from across the electorate.”
Yang burst into the mayoral race in January, coming off an unexpectedly durable presidential run noted for his “universal basic income” plan of giving $1,000 monthly cash payments to every American. As a mayoral candidate, he has advocated a more modest version of the plan: giving up t $2,000 annually to the 500,000 poorest New Yorkers. Yang gained early momentum with his enthusiastic persona on display at his many public appearances, and was boosted online and in person by his boisterous “Yang Gang” supporters.
But Adams, a former state senator and police captain, who has campaigned on, relative to many Democrats, a tough-on-crime platform, has seen his fortunes soar lately, as the city reels from record-breaking numbers of shootings and murders for more than a year. In the Manhattan Institute/Public Opinion Strategies poll, when respondents were asked to list their top two priorities, 46% listed the category of public safety/crime.
This is the first mayoral election that will feature ranked-choice voting (RCV) : Voters can rank their top five candidates in order. If one candidate receives more than 50% of first place votes, he or she is the winner. If no candidates receive more than 50% of first place votes, counting continues in rounds: in each round, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated. If a voter’s top-ranked candidate is eliminated, that voter’s vote then goes to the next-highest-ranked candidate on the voter’s ballot. The process continues until there are only two candidates left, and the candidate with the most votes wins.
In the PIX11/Emerson poll, 39% of respondents said they’d heard a lot about RCV, 42% had a heard a little, and 19% had no knowledge of it.
The PIX11/Emerson poll allowed respondents to rank up to three candidates, and Adams led in first place votes and at the end of the ranked-choice tabulation. The Public Opinion Strategies/Manhattan Institute poll allowed respondents to rank up to five candidates; while Yang had the edge in first-place votes, Adams won at the end of the ranked-choice tabulation.
Asked to comment on some recent polls showing Yang falling behind Adams, Yang co-campaign manager Chris Coffey noted that his candidate was leading in a number of polls, “but the only one that really matters is the one on Election Day.”
The Democratic primary, in which the next mayor will almost certainly be elected, will be on June 22. Early voting begins June 12. Many voters requested, and have already received, absentee ballots this year, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The deadline to request an absentee ballot for the primary is June 15.
Updated Wednesday, May 19, 2021 at 5:03 pm .